Solidarity and Deep Breaths: Impasse and What’s Next

Colleagues,

I think it’s fair to say that we were all surprised by senior administration’s declaration of impasse this afternoon. We will have general meetings for you about this (including next steps) next week; stay tuned for dates and details.

There is now a 30-day cooling-off period during which negotiations will continue, and, after which, either senior administration can implement their “last, best, and final offer” (which they’ve promised to provide by next Wednesday), and we can go on strike (if a majority of the faculty authorize it).

Let’s be clear: Senior administration is blatantly misrepresenting both our team’s preparation and the content of our proposals. To show this, I’m sending along this executive summary about OT-AAUP’s compensation proposal put together by math faculty and bargaining team member Joe Reid. Additionally, I’m including the summary on compensation and benefits from last week’s email, as well as direct links to the latest compensation and benefits proposal

How much does our compensation proposal cost and why?
Our compensation proposal will cost approximately $2.5 million for initial implementation and is based on a formula to get our faculty salaries closer to market and make adjustments to address internal salary inequities. To put that in perspective, since 2018, faculty have received no COLAs or market-driven salary increases; in contrast, since 2018, senior administration have received an additional $2.2 million, as evidenced by the Oregon Tech annual financial reports.

Oregon Tech faculty have been severely underpaid for years, and this proposal aims to close the gap between what our faculty earn and what our faculty peers at other institutions earn. Our proposal is, in effect, COLA and back pay for approximately 158 faculty.

To keep this compensation plan relevant after the initial implementation, we are also asking that our faculty compensation be compared annually to national data and updated accordingly, ensuring that we remain at—or, at least, near—market rates. Our plan would also help ensure that base salaries are fair, thereby increasing faculty recruitment and retention rates. We anticipate the adjustments for the second and third year of our contract to be closer to $500k.

Why did we reject senior administration’s health benefits proposal?
The primary reason we rejected senior administration’s benefit proposal—on top of the fact that they made it contingent on us accepting their problematic workload proposal—was that, while their proposal seemingly promised continuation of the 95/5 split on employer/employee premium contributions for one year, it would require faculty to absorb any cost increases of over 2% to premiums.

In other words, since health-care premiums almost always increase more than 2% each year, we as faculty could expect to be paying extra for health care every year under senior admin’s proposal.

Additionally, as we’ve mentioned before, senior administration’s proposal allowed them to change our health coverage every year, potentially for cheaper, inferior coverage, again without meaningful faculty participation in those decisions.

Current Proposals on Compensation and Benefits
For additional context and information, here is a list of recent proposals for your easy reference, which will show you how senior administration is misrepresenting the situation.

Please feel free to reach out to your steward or any member of the executive committee if you have any questions.

In solidarity,
Kari Lundgren, OT-AAUP Secretary
On behalf of the OT-AAUP Executive Committee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *